Peru is a year-round destination for travellers, but the dry/winter season – between May and September – is generally the most popular time for trekking. This is when the nights are cooler and there are often wildflowers in bloom along the trail.
Low cloud cover in winter also means cold nights (the coldest being close to zero degrees) on the trail, so bring some thermals for a good night’s sleep.
Peak season to visit
June and July are the most popular months to visit Peru, so expect long lines and a lot of people; consider visiting in the shoulder seasons to avoid the crowds. On the Inca Trail, while there is a cap on how many hikers can start the trek a day, the only way to secure a place during the high season is to get in first! Sometimes trail dates can be booked out six months in advance, so ensure you allow yourself plenty of time to get your Inca Trail permit.
If you’re taking the Quarry Trail, well, you’re in luck; you don’t need to worry about how busy it is, or a permit for that matter.
What you’ll need
Regardless of what time of year you decide to hike in Peru, you’ll need waterproof clothing and hiking boots (already worn in), thick hiking socks, warm and cool layers of clothing, sunscreen and a fleece. The weather in the Andes can be unpredictable, so you’ll want to ensure you’re well-equipped for your trek.
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The rainy season runs from November to March, although taking a waterproof jacket at any time of year will come in handy for hikes. And if you’re considering the Inca Trail, it closes every year in February for maintenance.
In June and July, Cusco bustles with cultural celebration. The Inca Festival of the Sun, Inti Raymi, is held on June 24 as a tribute to the Sun God, Inti. A month later, Independence Day is celebrated as a significant public holiday for Peruvians, held over two days from July 28-29. Many locals visit Machu Picchu at this time of year, and these are the busiest months for the Inca Trail.
As for the Quarry Trail, this is a year-round hike. There are no permits required and you’ll have the lesser-known trek mainly to yourself, passing through local communities and spotting the odd llama or goat grazing in front of the Andean Mountains.
Interested in an Inca Trail or Quarry Trail trek? Check out our range of small group adventures to Machu Picchu now.